Apollo Sound

A potted history

Apollo Sound was founded in 1964 by Heinz Herschmann, a composer, arranger and musician who always had a keen interest in recording technology and techniques. As a composer, he achieved considerable acclaim receiving many commissions for composition, and in his other work he enjoyed great success in roles as varied as musical Director of touring shows, to accompanist to various stage personalities and entertainers.

In his work as Musical Editor he employed many copyists for the writing out of orchestral parts and a close friendship developed with one of them – David Howe. He was a keen Brass Band player, who participated in many festivals and competitions and one day in 1966 he commissioned from Heinz a work for Brass Band. To Heinz’s surprise, it proved to be a great success and became quite popular. After repeated prompting, it was decided to make a commercial recording of it. The well known Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble were hired for the recording and the resulting LP (APS LP 1001) was an instant success earning many favourable reviews and winning an international prize. This was the birth of Apollo Sound.

At that time he observed the frustration of his composer colleagues at concert performances of their music as participating musicians on their unions orders refused to let their performance be recorded (even when just for the composer’s private purposes). Apart from commercial recordings, or paying the commercial recording rate, broadcasts were the only means by which a composer had a permanent record of his work. Unfortunately, during this period, the musical authorities of most broadcasting stations leant heavily towards the Avant Garde, which had the effect of preventing composers who wrote traditional melodic music from having their music broadcast.

As composer colleagues requested to have their music recorded, more records were issued. The policy was always the recording of repertoire that was not available on any other label, and had never been recorded before. As production expanded into Europe, the label moved into other genres including light, popular music, easy listening, jazz, latin, and even one world music release (of Ugandan Folk music commissioned by Unesco). Following on from all this, broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV started to use some of the Apollo Sounds catalogue as the music was of genuine interest.

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